Even ‘common’ bird species face risks to their natural habitat

@Photo credit:Submitted photo/Cannon Beach Gazette
@Photo caption:Red-winged blackbird.

Sure, it’s exciting to see rare birds, as I noted in my “State of The Bird Count” address last month. But I would hate to think what my backyard would be like without our “common” birds – like the red-winged blackbird pictured here.

This time of year, we see big flocks of blackbirds, as red-wings join forces with others like cowbirds, starlings and Brewer’s. It may seem like their numbers are good but experts say that up to 54 percent of populations within common bird species have disappeared in the last 50 years.

A few of the things we can do to help our bird populations are protect habitat, support forests, protect wetlands, fight global warming and combat invasive species which I think includes keeping domestic cats inside. Sorry, bird feeders do not make the list It feels like we are moving in the right direction here on the North Coast. Starting in my own backyard where I have planted willow, twinberry and other native plants. I also like to wait until spring to tidy up my gardens. The leaf litter and decaying plants make excellent places for birds to find bugs.

We also have champions for the environment in the North Coast Land Conservancy, local watershed councils and many other passionate groups. I feel good about our chances of keeping our common birds around for all to enjoy.

I am just home from work this rainy evening and after three stops in previous days, I finally saw the female pine grosbeak hanging out at the Netul Landing in Fort Clatsop Historic Park. Not common, but worth a mention!

Six of us braved the cold in January to make a loop around the lagoons in Cannon Beach. Join the group for more birding adventures in the Cannon Beach area. We meet the first Sunday of the month at the Lagoon Trail parking lot on Second Street at 9 a.m. As a group, we decide where the best birding is and bird until about 11. Bring binoculars and wear appropriate clothing. Everyone is welcome! Upcoming dates are Feb. 7 and March 6 – it is bound to be warmer!

Also, please mark your calendars for April 9 the fourth annual North Oregon Coast Birdathon, an event inspired by Cannon Beach’s 12 Days of Earth Day, April 11-22. Together we will raise much needed funds for the rehabbing birds and wildlife at the Wildlife Center of the North Coast. Information on the Birdathon can be found on the Wildlife Center’s website at CoastWildlife.org.

Susan has spent her life enjoying the great outdoors from the lakes and woods of Northern Minnesota, Mount Adams in Washington and now the Oregon beach environs. After spending many pleasurable hours driving her avid birder parents around, she has taken up birding as a passion, to the mixed emotions of her husband Scott. The Boacs reside on the Neawanna Creek in Seaside where their backyard is a birder’s paradise.

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